Talk on the Cheshire Lines Extension Railway at The Atkinson, Southport

I attended what turned out to be a packed out talk about the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway, which ran from Aintree Central Station, through Sefton & Maghull & Lydiate Stations and on through rural West Lancs to terminate at Southport Lord Street Station. The talk was given by Keith Hick on 13th February and when I say packed out I mean it! The studio at The Atkinson seats 260 we were told and they had to put extra chairs out to accommodate everyone wanting to hear and see it. Seems there are many railway enthusiasts in and around Sefton Borough:-)

Closed now since 1952 the line was never profitable but there were people in the audience who clearly still recall it. I’ve blogged about the line many times and one of my postings was about Lydiate Station signal box – it’s accessible via the link below:-

Keith Hick is a wonderful story teller and the huge number of photos that he produced brought out many which I had not previously seen despite my having a big interest in the line for many years. He also brought along a beautiful steam engine nameplate:-

The plate is from Ex-LMS rebuilt Patriot Class 4-6-0 No 45527 ‘Southport’. Here’s a link to photo of the loco and more information about it:-

All in all a great and well received talk by Keith Hick, indeed the staff at The Atkinson told us it was the largest audience they had ever had for a local history talk.

Note: Peter Kendrick advises me that Lydiate Station was demolished (probably by Rainfords) in May 73.

Lydiate Station – Closed 7th July 1952 but still open for walkers, cycles and horses

From Cheshire Lines Railway Estate Plans. I understand Cheshire Record Office holds them.

Now part of the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail its hard to believe that Lydiate once had its own railway station on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

Disused Stations Site Record has the info’ and a couple of interesting ‘then and now’ photos on Lydiate’s long lost railway station – see link above, which was not even in the Civil Parish of Lydiate but in Altcar.

Here are a few additional photos I have also come across/purchased/taken of the old station.

Lydiate Signal Box

Lydiate – Chesire Lines – a closer view

A close up of Lydiate Signal Box

The Valentine family on Lydiate Station 1939

Site of Lydiate Station – Cheshire Lines

Present day signage information at the old station site.

Click on any any of the photos to enlarge them

Thanks to Antony Graham for the historic site plan at the head of this posting

Lydiate – Chesire Lines train passing signal box – the back story

A few months back I published the photo below which had been given to me by a Maghull resident who used to live in Lydiate as a child.


We did not know much about the photo but some detailed detective work by Trevor Booth has brought the photo to life so to speak. This is what Trevor has deduced from it:-

The loco is number 5862 and is an LNER (ex GCR) D6 class 4-4-0. It was built in Dec 1898 by Beyer Peacocks of Manchester.

Lydiate - Cheshire Lines - a closer view

Lydiate – Cheshire Lines – a closer view

The two lamps on the front means that the train is classed as an express passenger.

Just to the left of the Loco chimney can be seen a signal. This is a standard CLC upper quadrant signal (which means that when the signal is ‘off’ showing clear the arm moves upwards as opposed to the lower quadrant type like the one the train has just passed at the back of the train). This pattern of upper quadrant signal was introduced by the CLC in 1929 although it might have been a year or so until this particular signal was installed here as they were usually only renewed when the previous signal was life expired or required repositioning.

The loco at this time was allocated to Brunswick shed, Liverpool and was withdrawn from service there and cut up at Gorton works, Manchester in July 1933.

I have a CLC system timetable for September 1931 which shows a (previously) withdrawn express to be reinstated in June 1932. This train (the only express on a weekday) departed Southport Lord St at 13:15 and passed Lydiate at about 13:35 arriving at Warrington Central at 14:20.This train had probably run in previous years and the time would fit in with the angle of the sun on what appears to be a very warm summers day.

I think that the picture was probably taken a year or two earlier as by 1931/32 Lydiate signal box was not open in the afternoon (but obviously is in the picture) but might have been open a year or two before.

Therefore I think that it’s most likely that the picture was taken in 1929/30/31.

If I turn up any thing that dates it more accurately I will let you know.

Just for the record the signal box is painted in standard Cheshire Lines colours which were;

Corner posts, framing, stairs, doors and ironwork = Medium Oak Brown.
All planking = Dark Buff.
Window frames = White.
Name board = Black with White letters and surround.

I see that in this case the stairs (and window frames) are Dark Buff with only the hand rails Oak Brown.

It’s amazing what can be deduced from an old black and white photo. Well done Trevor.

The second photo is now also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

Lydiate Signal Box – Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway

A while ago I blogged about a photo that I had just purchased asking if anyone knew those pictured outside Lydiate Signal Box. You can see my original post by clicking the link below:-

I have had two leads since then and a new photo.

Silva Bradbury has been in touch from Maghull and she thinks that two of the people could be her Grandfather George Peet and a chap called Arthur Hunter. Both she tells me were plate layers working on the Cheshire Lines.

The new photo that she generously let me scan (an old postcard) is below and it looks to me to be much latter than the original one I published in my previous posting. It’s probably from the 1940’s or early 1950’s just prior to the railway closure? Here it is:-

Lydiate Signal Box

Lydiate Signal Box

I was also contacted by Trevor Booth who has an interest in the Cheshire Lines Committee. This is what he said to me:-

I’ve just been looking at your picture of Lydiate signal box. A cracking photo which I’ve not seen before. I have a long interest in the CLC and it’s great to see pictures like this. There is only 1 possible name I can put on the picture and this depends on the approximate date it was taken. It looks to be c 1900-1914 on what I assume to be a Post Card? If so then information from trade directories of this period give the name of the Station Master (stood in front of the corner post of the box with a beard) as follows.

(These are the dates of the trade directories the names appear in,)

JWV Taylor 1887,1891,1895
James Harlow 1898
John Roberts 1901,1905
Harry Harlow 1909
Thomas Potter 1913
John Smith Kennerley 1924

Lydiate station would have been at or very near the bottom of the Station Master’s ladder of promotion so before coming here as SM he would probably be a Clerk at another station on the CLC.

Let me know if you can decide which one it is and I will see if I can find out from my notes where (if anywhere) he went next although they are not comprehensive and have quite a few gaps.

My thanks to Sylvia and Trevor. We seem to know a little more than we did before but there are still some mysteries to solve as Sylvia did not recognise any of the names listed above.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-